Last night (4/11) at the City Council meeting, the council passed the Earth Day 2022 Proclamation, which states Falls Church is “reaffirming the Council’s commitment to take action to achieve the regional greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals developed by MWCOG,” through “continued investment in and commitment to a transit-accessible, walkable and bikeable community with energy efficient buildings powered by renewable energy.”
All of these efforts sound great to me. But is the council just giving us lip service, or can we expect them to seriously commit to these improvements in our community? The MWCOG goal is specifically to “reduce emissions of GHGs below 2005 levels by 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.” The inconvenient truth is we are far from on track to hit any of our goals, we’re not even close. What is the point of setting a goal if we are unwilling to seriously work towards achieving it? The greatest source of GHG emissions in Falls Church is from transportation, which is overwhelmingly from personal cars and trucks.
At the joint FC Citizen Advisory Board on Transportation & Environmental Sustainability Council meeting last month on safe bike & pedestrian infrastructure, we had more than 45 people join. Dozens were there to advocate for safer streets for our kids to get to school, designing walkable neighborhoods by default, and pleading to the city to invest in safer bike routes across the city. I can not remember any city council meeting with 50 citizens attending. It is clear that sustainable safe transportation that reduces traffic and makes our city more livable is a top priority for our citizens. I hope the City Council will take these advocates seriously. Transforming how we get around is the only way to hit our GHG emissions goals as well. Falls Church is a great city to bike through, but we need it to be a great city to bike around.